Thursday, August 20, 1998 Published at 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Poetry enters a revealing phase
Poet Tim Gadaski exposes what is behind the movement
The human body has been a favourite subject for poets through the ages - Shakespeare himself wrote "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun".
But not many poets have been prepared to use their own flesh to get their point across.
However, all that is changing with the opening of the first International Festival of Naked Poets at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Participating poets are saying that it is the start of a major new aesthetic movement across Europe to reintroduce and revitalise poetry.
Vladimir Yarumenko Tolstoy and his friend, Tim Gadaski, founded the Naked Poetry Club of Russia a year ago in St Petersburg..
Mr Tolstoy will dance The Spirit of the Young Deer, and his friend, Tim, helps him strip away the restrictive layers of contemporary life for that raw look.
But Emmanuelle Waeckerle has a more sobre approach. She uses her naked body on stage and that of her projected image as part of, what she calls, an "existentialist confession".
"At college, one of my confessees called it the masquerade of life. We all like to pretend we are happy, that we have money, that we do this and that to cover up.
Nudity in demand
The naked poets say more and more artists want to perform in the nude. But critics are unconvinced that this is at the forefront of a new artistic movement. Instead they says these poets just want to strip.
He says: "When we were performing at one poetry evening, people were expecting us to be naked, but we came dressed because it was a place where they would want poets to be dressed.
"But as soon as we took our clothes off, it immediately stopped and it was actually a very nice evening," Mr Gadaski says.
And despite fears from the critics that nudity might actually turn people off poetry, about 20 other performers have come forward to bare their soul and everything else.
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